Saturday, September 21, 2013

Epicure Imports Sale Haul

The Epicure Imports Sale is Foodie heaven.

I spent too much money today,  but got some lovely French butter, cheese, sausage, pate, butter cookies in gorgeous packaging, and some Italian capers, pasta, balsamic vinegar, Cafe St. Eustachio, and lemon-infused olive oil.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tour de France Cocktails, Corsica and Stage 1

Good morning sports fans! If you're like me, you're watching the Tour de France right now. Later you might need to pair your cycling spectation with some libation. Bicicyling Magazine is your huckleberry, and I love them for it. Check out their roundup of TDF themed cocktails!

Corsica is looks rustic, lush, and hot to me. Very pretty hills. Neat rows of grape vines, too. Looks to be Cav's day, but you never know. Gorgeous shot along the coast. Reminds me a lot of the terrain around Santa Barbara and Ojai. If you want to ride a lovely century or metric century, and you don't mind some climbing, check out the Ojai Century. You'll ride through foothills and avocado and orange groves, and fly along PCH, too! Loads of fun. Southern California is so beautiful, and a great place for road cyclists.

For a Corsican wine, here something that sounds good. This excerpt is from The Examiner:

"The Domaine Maestracci ‘E Prove’ 2010 white is a fresh, acid-driven delight, brimming with limey citrus notes tingling the lips, apple and pear fruits in tangy abundance expanding in the mouth, and a long, leisurely finish that lasts until the next sip begins. This is Vermentinu, the primary white grape of Corsica, known as Vermentino in nearby Italy and Rolle in the south of France. It’s a grape that deserves much more prominence and share of mouth than it gets, and the Maestracci is a perfect example of why it excels in Corsica."

I just read on Miss Elisabeth's blog about how you can get a calzone in Corsica stuffed with a lightly poached egg, mozzarella and prosciutto. They have lots of local cheeses and cured meats, as do all parts of France and Italy. I bet all that would pair quite well with those crisp Corsican white wines. Yummy!

Below is the link where you can read the entire post about that calzone. It will make you want to visit Corsica! Suddenly I do! But why not? After all, my two favorite places in Europe are Italy and France, and Corsica is a blend of both.

Happy Tour de France, Everyone!!! I love July!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I've been biking in France without you!

It's terrible, because this April I went to France and rode for a week in the Loire Valley, doing the Deluxe Loire Valley tour.

And have I told you all anything about it? How could I be so selfish and mean to you, my fabulous Bike_Drink_Eat fans?

Well, please let me make it up to you by sharing some video, and few images.
Biketastic at Azay le Rideau, a Renaissance Chateau

Stoney at Chateau of Langeais

Vegetable Terrine at Domaine de Beauvois - very delicious!

Exterior of Domaine de Beauvois, an old priory made into a hotel

Chateau d'Usse, the inspiration for the story of Sleeping Beauty

Clock Tower at Chinon, an important Joan of Arc historic site

It was amazing. Discover France, by the way, is the official tour company of the Tour de France. It was so beautiful, even with a bit a rainy weather. Mostly we were very lucky and got a few hours of lovely sun today. And the area was in full spring bloom, so green, with herbs and flowers wherever you looked.

I have way more to tell you all about it, so stay tuned!

Enjoy the video, and let me know what you think, ask questions, get involved, people!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Giro d'Italia Route Announced Today

It's that magical time of year, folks--like Christmas for cycling fans. Ooh, the Giro d'Italia route for 2013 was just announced. Check out the new graphics! They start in Naples and do a TTT in Ischia! Can't wait to see the overhead shots.

Now if only my local cable company would give my back my Universal Sports! I have until May to convince them! Or to get DISH. Hmmm.

Enjoy, Bike People!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Italians Are Pretty: Exhibit 1, Danilo Di Luca

Danilo di Luca, Ladies and Gentlemen.  OK, mostly, Ladies, and Gentlemen who know Dorothy.

My husband and I like to say there is something in the water in Italy, but you have to drink it all your life to get the benefits. They are just, by and large, really good looking folks. And the riders are no exception.

Danilo di Luca's riding moniker is "The Killer." Seriously. Killer. :)

Last night's Campari has robbed me of my poetry, so this is what you get.

Viva il Giro! Viva Italia!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Giro d'Italia: From Orvieto to Fiuggi Terme and A Grand Old Sport

Today's stage is the one we would have attended, staying in Fiuggi Terme, if there hadn't been so many little trips already scheduled this spring. Fiuggi Terme is up in the hills southeast of Rome. There's a bike hotel there, the Hotel Silva Splendid, where they rent you mountain bikes or road bikes, there are 20 different itineraries, and they have one guided ride that dumps you right out at the Colosseum. Fiuggi is a spa town in the foothills of the Appenines, with natural hot springs, and it has quite a few hotels. It has probably been an out of town resort destination since ancient times. The deal to stay there and have VIP access to the finish line was ridiculously cheap. Sigh....

I want to try to describe the effect of watching team Leopard Trek and Tyler Farrar ride in a straight placid line, silent as churchgoers during the peace, crossing the finish line. My husband and I couldn't help but weep to see it.

Cycling is it is quite and old sport, as modern sports go. It reaches back into the Belle Epoque, when in Europe velocipedes became a craze, and in large and small towns velodromes--giant cycling racetracks--were built and filled by cheering fans. During this time someone decided to build a raised bike highway from Pasadena to downtown Los Angeles.  The path of this highway now parallels the 110, the first freeway ever built. We don't have many other sports that hail so strongly from this era, Cycling retains a chivalry that comes from this time, a philosophy of life I associate with my grandfather Kirk Bell, who was born in 1901—a sense of honor and style from before the Great War. This is the spirit in which the riders rode an entire lengthy stage without racing, to give honor to their fallen comrade. This is the heart of cycling that keeps me captivated. It is so much more than a pack of wiry guys in crazy bright spandex pedaling bicycles across ridiculous distances.

In May 2007 my husband and I cycled out of Mira in the Veneto—the area west of Venice--and started in the direction of the mountains.  The closer we got, the more monuments we saw to the dead of both World Wars. The most affecting were those from the Great War. Lone statues in long sweeping coats and rimmed helmets cocked with a rakish look that must be uniquely Italian, facing the mountain passes where so many died protecting their land from invaders.

Maybe it's because the riders stay greyhound lean and ride for hours and hours, wincing through the pain, determined to finish, sometimes in spite of terrible bruises and road rash and, sometimes, broken bones, but they remind me of soldiers. Later this month we'll see them ride the mountain passes where the Alpini soldiers fought those two terrible wars. And along the route will stand the veterans of wars, still wearing their feathered Alpini hats, alongside the current Alpini, in the same hats, but in full camouflage and weapons, protecting the riders and the crowd.

This sport reminds me on a regular basis that one must be willing to fight for the people and things one loves. The riders fight for glory, to prove they can do it, for the pride of their families and towns and countries, in support of their comrades.  And yes, they are paid, but not very well at all, with the exception of a few rock star riders like Fabian Cancellara. And yes, they answer to the sponsors, but the sponsors change almost yearly. They are fighting for something more.

So I'll keep watching this grand old sport, for the pageantry, the drama, the determination to win against great odds, the old-school honor that elevates sportsmanship to the sublime, because it makes me feel proud to be human.

Viva il Giro! Viva ciclismo!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Watching the 4th Stage in Italian on RAI now. Their journalists have been interviewing many great men of the sport, including Eddie Merxx, and the man in pink today, David Millar, and they all say, basically, it's a terrible tragedy, but this is a dangerous sport, and this kind of thing could happen any day, everyday in the sport.

But still they ride, these true athletes.  Nobody dies in golf. As the Italians say, "Ciclismo e' una grande passione."

Wouter Weylandt was Tyler Farrar's best friend, and he's gone home today.  He can't take it. He's a sprinter and doing that takes so much focus.  Maybe if he stayed in the race, he might get hurt during a moment of inattentiveness. Continuing would have been particularly hard for him, whose father became a paraplegic after being hit on his bike head-on by a car. His father still cycles, though.

Trying to wrap my mind and heart around all of this. When I ride out on my bike to work every day I take the risk that some distracted amped up L.A. driver might make the wrong move and hurt, maim or kill me. I do all I can to be safe, to be visible.  I wear a helmet, gloves, multiple flashing lights, reflective clothing, but in the end, that may not be enough. I'm still going to ride. Heck, I could die in my bathtub. Life is risky. Might as well do what you love. Leopard Trek is back in the saddle today. Life goes on. The race is beautiful, the landscape lush and full of castles, crashing waves, stately maritime pines, and fortresses built to protect the local people from Barbary Coast pirates. Life can be exquisitely lovely and horrible all at once. And we race on through it, too fast, sometimes, for our own good.

In the meantime, I'd like to personally ask that Universal Sports and RAI please start broadcasting in HD. I want to see every dangerous gorgeous moment of my favorite race in my favorite place in the world.

Forza ciclisti! Viva il Giro!

And as I close this, the entire Leopard Trek team, and Tyler are riding in a line across the road, a formation of silence at the front of the pack, in tribute to their fallen comrade, Wouter Weylandt. Farrar is visibly weeping. No one is racing today. The fourth stage is a funeral cortege. It is one year since Weylandt won the third stage of the Giro.

And the whole team, plus Farrar, comes across the finish. In silence.